AA8IA Amateur Radio

Cushcraft R-8 or HyGain AV-640 ?

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Wanting to get back into the hobby, and knowing the limitations I have with regard to this plot of land, I had been thinking along the lines of putting up a crankup mast or crankup tower such as one of the US Tower products.   But as time has progressed I have decided against this.  Why?   Because I see no reason to go through the trouble of putting up such a tower if I’m not going to have a yagi sitting on top of it.   I live in a low key neighborhood.   There are absolutely no zoning restrictions, HOA to deal with, or C&R issues.  It’s simply a matter of wanting to be a good neighbor and not wanting our house to stand out as an eyesore to the rest of the neighborhood.   Property values are good here and I don’t want to rock the boat.

I had initially been looking at a ground-mounted vertical requiring a proper radial system (see my previous article talking about the Hustler 6BTV).   But now I’ve decided to go for a multiband HF vertical that does not require a separate radial system.    I’ve got two in mind that I feel are worth considering.   One is the HyGain AV-640 and the other is the Cushcraft R-8.

Both the AV-640 and the R-8 have good reviews overall and are known to perform well [as far as multiband verticals for limited space go].   The AV-640 is around $130-$150 cheaper than the R-8.   That’s a selling point.   But, I am considering the R-8 over the AV-640 because of some of the reviews I have read as well as the fact that the R-series has been around a long time.

I had thought about mounting the antenna above the roofline, but I don’t really believe that I could expect much better performance mounting it above the roofline.   Also, both of these antennas are tall [25+ feet] and both should be guyed, especially if you are in an area where high winds are a regular occurance.   This is especially true of the R-8, since it is slightly taller and even more top-heavy.  Given my elevation (nr 1200 feet), high winds are a problem.   I don’t want to think about having antenna that is up 25′ on a mast blowing a part and then having to take it down to repair it.

I’m leaning towards cementing a pipe in the center of the backyard, with the top of the pipe 10 feet above the ground.   If I do this, the counterpoises on the antenna [whichever one I choose] will still be sufficiently out of the way of any humans/animals and the antenna will be far enough in the clear to perform as expected.   The plan is for this pipe to be centered within our fence in the backyard, and then I can guy the antenna at its recommended guying points and tie off the guys on the other end at the fenceposts.

I plan on doing a better job of installing this antenna than I have any previous one.    Proper size/strength mast, cemented in the ground; proper antenna grounding to a ground rod driven in the ground; a minimal depth ditch dug so that the coax can run underground to the house; proper lightning protection and the ability to disconnect the antenna at a point outside the house in the event of severe storm activity.   This along, with guying the antenna, should allow me to have a very promising HF station on the air.

I still need to figure out how tall the support pipe/mast is going to be, how I’m going to secure it in the ground, etc.   After I get this part of the job done, I’ll then make a final decision on whether I’m going to choose the AV-640 or the R-8.


Cushcraft R8 Reviews #1 – Eham

Cushcraft R8 Reviews #2 – Eham

HyGain AV-640 Reviews – Eham

Written by Mike

April 10th, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Posted in Antennas

Tagged with ,

One Response to 'Cushcraft R-8 or HyGain AV-640 ?'

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  1. Have the identical situation and considering both antennas. Wondering if you have installed yet and which one, comments?


    26 Nov 11 at 2:59 PM

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